Saturday, May 31, 2014

Who gave you that? - 2nd Timothy 1:6-7

"For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)
Timothy was a wonderful young man who was willing to lay aside his own personal wants and needs to serve the needs of others. In writing to the church at Philippi, Paul had this to say about Timothy and why he was sending him to Philippi, "For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 2:20-22) Timothy masterfully represented the heart and message of Paul as he also did the heart and message of Jesus. However, Timothy had his weaknesses too. He could be timid and afraid and tended to back down when faced with distractors and those who stood in opposition to himself and to Paul's ministry. Faced with these situations, Timothy could retreat instead of pushing forward. Paul reminds his to not let his gift go dormant through fear and timidity; to not let the aggression of others to oppress him into silence.

Often, we too face fear when confronted by aggressive and disagreeable people, but Paul reminds us that this fear is not from God. God did not create us this way, it's not part of our personality given to us by God. Fear is a spirit; if not a literal spiritual beaning, it is at least a manor of "breath" (spirit and breath being the same word in both Greek and Hebrew). God has not intended us to live our life breathing in and out fear. Rather, in our new life, God has given us a new breath of life, one of love, power, and a sound or disciplined mind. God has given us love that we might see and treat others as God does, power that we might break through any obstacles and the circumstances of life that try to hem us in, and discipline that we might doggedly pursue the course and purpose of life God has assigned us to. Realizing this, it is time to rekindle and stir up the gifts God has given us which we have let go dormant through fear and intimidation. For God has not given us such a spirit.

Additionally, in another place, we can find one more spirit that God has not given us, a spirit of slavery. "For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'" (Romans 8:15) This fear here is different then the fear Paul wrote about to Timothy. To Timothy Paul wrote of the fear of man while here he is writing of the fear of God and the fear of His punishment and rejection of us. Some people live their lives seeing God as an exacting master, always ready to point out their faults, to correct them, to judge them, and to condemn them to a life away from God. They see themselves as slaves to God rather than children of God and this perception colors all they feel, think, and do in life. However, this is not the breath of life we have received from God. Just like the spirit of fear, the spirit of slavery is not from God and often this spirit is even more powerful then the spirit of fear for, until we understand that we are children of God, we will never cry out to our Father for help in our time of need. We will never attempt power, love, and discipline until we first understand that we are sons and daughters. Either way, God wants us to shed our old breath of life that we might live by a new breath; a breath of adoption and a breath of power, love and discipline.

David Robison

Friday, May 30, 2014

With a clear conscience - 2nd Timothy 1:1-5

"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy. For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well." (2 Timothy 1:1-5)
An apostle is an ambassador that is sent out to delver a message to a distant group of people on behalf of the one who sent him. Paul was one of those apostles that God selected to send out with the message of the Kingdom, more specifically, to make know to us the promise of life in Jesus Christ. The message of the Kingdom is a message of life, not life as we have known it, but true, abundant, and everlasting life. It is a message of hope that we can be saved from our present death to receive new life through the work and agency of Jesus. This message is good news indeed!

Paul's personal letters remind us of how important and transformative it is to have people who believe in us and care for us. Timothy grew up knowing the scriptures and experienced faith in Christ through his grandmother and mother. However, what is conspicuously missing from Paul's brief biography of Timothy's life is any reference to his father. We know nothing about him other than he was a Greek. However, we do know know if he was still living with them or anything about his influence upon the family or Timothy personally. To Timothy, Paul became like a father and he loved Timothy like a son. Reading his letters you can see how Paul loved Timothy, prayed for him, thanked God for him, and longed to see him with the expectancy of great joy at their reunion. It is interesting that previously Paul wrote of the "laying on of hands by the presbytery" (1 Timothy 4:14) yet now speaks more personally of "my hands." (2 Timothy 1:6) We all need people in our lives who love us and believe in us, who will encourage us, and who can mentor us in our walk in the Lord. Paul was such a person to Timothy.

In writing of his service to God, Paul says that he served God with a "clear conscience." This is what we all want, to serve God with no regrets, lingering guilt, or knowledge of any hidden sins. Paul was not saying that he was perfect, but that he walked before God with no consciousnesses of any separation between him and God. This confidence comes from a life spent fleeing sin and pursuing God; a life spent quickly repenting of sin rather than trying to conceal or excuse it. It is a life lived in the open before God and with God as his Lord and Master.

Paul also speaks of his forefathers. Service to God did not begin with Paul, nor did it begin with Jesus, but actually began with Adam. For roughly six thousand years people have been serving God with a "clean consciences" in what ever capacity or manor it was assigned to them. Sometimes, in our short view of history, it is easy to think that everything originated with us. We claim "new revelation" or "new devotion and service" to God, yet such revelation, devotion, and service to God has been going on for millenniums. We are just one more person in a long history of God's relationship with mankind. Perhaps if we take a longer view of history and see ourselves in greater historical content, then we would not be so full of ourselves or so filled with pride as if we were the very first ones to love God. Lovers of God have always walked this earth and we have now received of their legacy. Let us make the most of our appointed time in history and work to leave something worthwhile behind to those who will fallow on after us.

David Robison

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Guard what you have - 1st Timothy 6:17-21

"Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed. O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called "knowledge" —  which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. Grace be with you." (1 Timothy 6:17-21)
There is no sin in being rich, especially when those riches have been justly earned. However, being rich presents its own dangers. When you are rich, it can seem that you are in a commanding position in this life; able to direct and control the affairs of life. When a problem arises, money often seems to be the answer, buying us our of any danger, loss, or necessity. It is the poor who struggle with the necessities of life, not the rich, their problem is not food and shelter, but what kind of food and shelter they will have. It is not, "where will we live tonight?" that is there problem but whether or not they will be able to buy a house that will be fitting of their stature and will show them off as doing well among their peers. Certainly not all rich live in this manor, but this temptation is common to all who perceive themselves as having wealth.

Again, the problem is not riches or wealth or money, the problem is the love of such things. When we love riches more than people, then we are truly the most impoverished of all. Paul instructs Timothy to teach the rich not to look to or boast in their riches, like King David did when he counted his fighting men that he might boast in his strength; an act for which he was justly judged. Money can buy us out of many tight places, but it cannot buy us love, happiness, or eternal life. Riches can aid in life, but they cannot give us life. To those who are rich, Paul teaches them that it is God who has given them their wealth both to enjoy and to "do good." God does not intend us to give away all our possessions that we may all be equally poor, rather He certainly intends us to enjoy and rejoice in what He has given us. However, there is an even greater joy that is found when we learn to use our gifts in helping others, in doing good with what God has given us. When we use God's gifts to benefit others we are building for ourselves a strong foundation of sure footing that will withstand and preserve us through the storms yet to come. There are some things for which money cannot defend us, but generosity can.

Finally, Paul warns Timothy to guard what has been given to him. It is possible to squander the gift of God; to loose what God has given us through neglect, distraction, and disinterest. Timothy was gifted in teaching God's words, but Paul warns him of becoming distracted by worldly arguments and wrangling over words. It would be so easy for him to become caught up is the arguments of others to the point where he would loose sight of what he was truly called to do. Timothy was called to teach God's word, not argue with others. It is like when Nehemiah was rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and the leaders of the surrounding area wanted to have a meeting with him to discuss what he was doing in hopes of stopping him from rebuilding the walls. Nehemiah 's response was, "I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?" (Nehemiah 6:3) We cannot afford to loose our focus or to be distracted from our course in life. When we let the world, and others, set the agenda for our life, the end result is never good. Some, yielding to the will of others, and to the temptations of the world, have even sunk to the depths of shipwreck. We must guard what has been given to us.

David Robison

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Flee and pursue - 1st Timothy 6:11-16

"But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time — He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen." (1 Timothy 6:11-16)
As he closes his letter to Timothy, Paul commands Timothy, before God and Jesus Christ, to "keep the commandment" until the very end. But what commandment is Paul talking about? The Greek article here translated as "the" can also be translated as "this". It is my believe that Paul was referring to the command he just gave Timothy, that is to flea from this and to pursue that and, in the process, to fight for that which Jesus came to give him. When summing up all that he wished for Timothy, this was it, that he would flea the world and sin and pursue God and His righteousness.

The Christian life is a journey, a journey from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of light, a journey in which we must flea our old life and pursue our new life in Christ. Those who stand still are not living the Christian life. There is always motion in the Christian life, a motion that increases our distance from some things and draws us closer to others. In fine, Paul enumerates some of those things we are to flee and some of the things we are to pursue.

Flee: Love of money, envy, strife, railings, evil suspicion, and constant friction.
Pursue: Righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.

Paul further command's Timothy to "fight the good fight of faith." The fight of faith is not the fight to believe, but the fight to receive the things we have believed for. It is the same fight Abraham was engaged in when he fought the fight of faith for the birth of his son. "Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform." (Romans 4:19-21) Abraham's fight was not a fight to believe God, for he already had accounted His willing and able to perform what He had promised. It was a fight against circumstances and temptations that stood in his way of obtaining what God had promised. It was a fight against discouragement, weariness, and the constant temptation to return to his old life. Yet Abraham remained strong, endured the many years, and, in the end, received what God had promised. This is the same fight we are in and the same fight God is calling us to win!

This fight of faith is also a fight that not only waits for eternal life but attempts to make its benefits own, even in the here and now. It is a fight that grabs hold of what is ahead and enjoys it in the present. In eternal life there awaits for us joy, wholeness, peace, and health. Those who fight the fight of faith contend to make those things part of their everyday life, to experience joy, wholeness, peace, and heath here on earth, knowing that eternity starts now, not at some distant time in the future. They are like those of whom the writer of Hebrews says they have "tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come." (Hebrews 6:5) Those who live such a life, a life of fleeing, pursuing, and fighting, are those whom live lives worthy of Christ!

David Robison

Monday, May 26, 2014

The root of all evils - 1st Timothy 6:6-10

"But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Timothy 6:6-10)
This verse tells us several things about riches, our need for them, and our desire for them. First, Paul shows us that true riches are those things for which we cannot covet. We can covet for things, such as cars, houses, and wives, but we cannot covet for true riches such as righteous, peace, and joy. We covet our neighbors' boat because we know we could steal it, we covet his wife  because we know we could seduce it, but how does one covet and in hopes of attaining his neighbors' peace or joy? True riches are not the things of this world that may be possessed, but they come from above and are granted by God and given to willing and worthy souls. Unfortunately, much of our life is spent in the pursuit of those things that have no real value while at the same time ignoring and forsaking those things that truly make one rich. To find true happiness we must first find those things that have true worth, and to be eternally happy, those things that are eternally good.

Secondly, it is important to understand the foundation of contentment in this world. Contentment is possible when the basic needs of of a person are met, that being, food, covering, and shelter. It is hard for one to be content when they are hungry, cold, and constantly exposed to the elements. Similarly, it is hard to pursue things of eternal value when your stomach is screaming our from temporal satisfaction. James, in reminding us that faith without works is dead, said, "If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?" (James 2:15-16) Sometimes it is necessary to first give to the basic needs of a person before they are content enough to even consider reconciliation with God. Sometimes people are so concerned with meeting their needs now that they cannot think or concern themselves with eternity. In these cases it becomes the church to minister to their immediate needs that they may, in becoming content, later learn to desire the Lord with as much wholeheartedness as they once used to desire their next meal.

Finally, Paul warns of the dangers of pursuing money and riches. Many are those who desire to be rich, but few are those who understand the dangers associated with riches and their pursuit. The pursuit of riches is a dangerous path that is lined with temptation and snares and whose end is ruin and destruction. You may say, "but look, many have become rich." but at what cost? For the problem is not the riches, for they are neither good nor bad, but the problem is the pursuit. When men make money as their focus, they loose sight of those things that have true value and they make the temporal gain of riches their aim rather than eternity. They forsake all for the sake of money and, in doing so, sow destruction, pain, and sorrow to many around them. In the end, they may find what they seek, but they are as the children of Israel who longed for meat, "And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul." (Psalm 106:15 NKJV) Jesus similarly reminded us, "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?" (Matthew 16:26) If a man, or woman, truly desires to be rich, let them seek the Lord and let riches be His reward. For riches from the Lord are sure and add to our joy rather than steeling from it. "It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it." (Proverbs 10:22)

David Robison

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Doctrine of sound words - 1st Timothy 6:3-5

"If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain." (1 Timothy 6:3-5)
During Timothy's time, there were a lot of false apostles and teachers that had gone out teaching their own gospel and their own doctrine of morality and righteousness. The word used here by Paul for "advocates a different doctrine" simply means to "teach otherwise." Paul is warning Timothy, and those who would teach otherwise, that those who do not conform to the words of Christ and the doctrine of godliness, are not teaching the message of Christ, are not sent by God, and are not in unison with the universal church, the Body of Christ.

It is interesting that Paul speaks of both the words of Christ and the doctrine of godliness. The words of Christ we have written down for us in the memoures of the apostles (as some in the early church used to refer to them as). The doctrine of godliness we have recorded for us in the letters of the apostles; a doctrine teaching us how to live as Christians seeking to obey Jesus' words. Clement of Alexandria once said, "Everything that is contrary to right reason is sin." (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, Book 1, Chapter 13) The teaching of godliness is a teaching that conforms to right reason, seeing that right reason teaches us to live according to how we were created and for that for which we were purposed. Right reason understands that life was meant to be lived in a godly way; we were designed for godliness. When we live godly lives then "life works" and we find the reason and purpose of life itself. King Solomon once said, "the way of transgressors is hard." (Proverbs 13:15 KJV) but Jesus said of the yolk of godliness, "is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:30)

It is easy to identify someone who is standing contrary to the message and teaching of Christ, and the evidence is found in the fruit of their lives and the lives of those they are trying to "teach." The word Paul uses for "conceited" is and interesting Greek word that means to rise up or wrap in smoke. It reminds me of the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz who projected his image in smoke and flames of fire so as to impress and frighten people into submission. These people have an inflated since of themselves and attempt to project an image to influence others either though a great impression or fear of reverence. The word Paul uses for "morbid interest" literally means to be sick or to have a "diseased interest" in something. Have you ever know anyone who always likes to argue, who delights in contradicting and arguing about whatever is said. No matter what position you take, they always want to argue over it. It seems their goal is not to convince you of their position but simply to get you to agree that they are right. To them its more important to be "right" than to be "correct". Not only are they conceited and argumentative, but in their wake is all kinds of evil residue: envy, strife, railings, evil suspicions, and friction. These people have a lot to say yet they are devoid of any knowledge or understanding. They teach, confront, and argue for their own gain and aggrandizement rather than for the benefit of the body of Christ. It is important that we recognize such people and avoid them that we might not be distracted or dissuaded from the true path of life that is found in truth and godliness.

David Robison

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Slave society - 1st Timothy 6:1-2

"All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against. Those who have believers as their masters must not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but must serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles." (1 Timothy 6:1-2)
Paul is not justifying or encouraging slavery but acknowledging it as a social reality into which many new believers found themselves. The Greek and Roman worlds were very much slave societies whose economy and way of life was built upon the availability of free labor from slaves. Some of these slaves were bought through the indebtedness of the person being enslaved, some were captured and forced into slavery, and others, perhaps the majority of them, were made slaves as the result of being concurred through military exploits. What ever the case, in some cities and at some times, there could have been ten times as many slaves as freedmen. The reality for the church, and the gospel, was that many of the new believers were being converted to Christ while they were yet slaves to another person. Without condoning slavery, the apostolic message teaches several things about our lives, even if it is the life of a slave.
"Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that... You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called." (1 Corinthians 7:21, 24)
First, we are encouraged to remain in the condition to which the Gospel first came to us. This does not mean that a slave could not make use of a chance for freedom should it ever arrive, or that one could not later choose to be married if they were saved while being single, rather that what matters more than our station in life is our relationship to God and this we can have and grow in regardless of where the Gospel finds us. Sometimes people's desire to be something else, to be free, to be married, to be rich, to be unmarried, to be in "ministry", etc. can become a distraction to a person's devotion to God. Love God where you are, learn to walk with Him in your own circumstances, don't be to eager or distracted to be something different, and, if a change does come, thank God for the opportunity and the grace to receive it.
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28)
Secondly, In Christ, there is no differences between people. The Kingdom of God is gender blind, color blind, and class blind. Weather you are free or enslaved you have the same God, the same Kingdom, and the same blessings of God available to you. Being a slaved does not hinder you in the Kingdom of God and neither does being free. God loves all people equally (that being completely) and so should we. We must learn not to see others according to their condition in life but to see them spiritually, as brothers and sisters in Christ. "Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh..." (2 Corinthians 5:16)
"For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men." (1 Corinthians 7:22-23)
Finally, being freed in our soul is of much greater value than being freed physically. There are many who are free but who are slaves to lusts, desires, and the impulses of their soul. One can be free from other men yet addicted to things of this world. Such freedom is simply an illusion. However, there are those who are imprisoned physically in many ways yet their souls are set free and are incapable of being enslaved again by men. These are they who are truly free. Those who know who they are and whose they are, are free while other simply live in an illusion of freedom while they are slaves to the demands of their emotions, fears, addictions, and lusts. Jesus came to set our souls free and, one day, will return to set our bodies free as well. However, until that day, we must strive to remain free in our soul while we wait for our total freedom that is yet to come. Here is true freedom and life.

David Robison

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Others getting what you want - 1st Timothy 5:23-25

"No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments. The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after. Likewise also, deeds that are good are quite evident, and those which are otherwise cannot be concealed." (1 Timothy 5:23-25)
Paul was a man who performed many miracles in his day including many healings. However, here is his "true son" who is beset with "frequent ailments." In fact, we know that Paul himself also suffered sickness and diseases during his life as an apostle. "But you know that it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time." (Galatians 4:13) Could not the one who healed so many heal himself and his son Timothy? Time does not permit for a full treatment on the subject of healing, but there is often no correlation between the gifts of healing and the healer's own healing. There is an interesting story of when Abraham and his wife Sarah lived near Gerar. Fearing the king and the people of that place, Abraham asked Sarah to say she was his sister so that they would not kill him and take her, for, even late in life, she was still very beautiful. As he suspected, king Abimelech took Sarah, thinking she was Abraham's sister but God kept him from her lest he sin against another man's wife. Once God had revealed to Abimelech the deception that had been perpetrated against him, he restored Sarah to Abraham, but not without first rebuking the patriarch. "Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his maids, so that they bore children. For the Lord had closed fast all the wombs of the household of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham's wife." (Genesis 20:17-18) Abraham prayed for Abimelech and his household and they all started having children again, and yet, here Sarah was still barren! How many times had Abraham prayed that same prayer for his wife to no effect? Why would God hear his prayers for Abimelech but not for his own wife? Sometimes the contrast between our personal and our ministry lives server to test and refine our faith. Will we continue to pray and believe for others while we still are waiting for answers to our own prayers for ourselves? When others get the very thing we ourselves long for will we continue to serve and trust God knowing He is always good and loving towards us, even when it doesn't look like it? Both Paul and Abraham continued to pray and believe for others even when beset with their own needs, and so should we. Our needs should not derail us, or disqualify us, from the gifts and service God has for us.

In the end, all things will be seen for what they truly are. For some, their deeds, good or bad, are seen and judged by all, for others, we will have to wait till they are revealed at the judgement seat of Christ. However, either way, one day, all will be seen for what it truly is. In that day there will be no "hidden"sin and no unrewarded deed. Just because no one knows what we do in secret does not mean that no one sees, God does. Just because no one acknowledges or rewards us for the good we do does not mean that no one sees or cares, God does. What others see and think of us matters little, for often they only see what we want them to see. What really matters is what God sees and what He thinks of us for He sees us for who we really are. Let us live in the revelation that God is always watching and sees everything. Then, in that day, we will not be ashamed of what is revealed for we have already lived our lives if full disclosure before God.

David Robison

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Rebuke publicly - 1st Timothy 5:19-22

"Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.  I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality. Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin."(1 Timothy 5:19-22)
Those who "stand in front" are often open to criticism, jealously, and envy. Some from selfish admission, others from supposed slights and unrequited "needs", may slander and falsely accuse the elders for things they are innocent of. Having been an elder many times, I can tell you first hand that there is no shortage of people willing and ready to take you to task for something they believe you have done or are responsible for. However, Paul reminds Timothy that those who are our elders and who have shown with their lives the wisdom that comes with age and the piety and morality that comes from a life spent in pursuit of God, these have earned our honor and the right to be granted the benefit of the doubt. Just because someone is "up in arms" over something they say an elder has done or said, it is no reason to get too worked up over it. An elder should not stand accused unless the accusation is corroborated by more than one witness.

However, that being said, when those who "stand in front" sin, they should be similarly "rebuked in front." Those who has such public lives should be rebuked publicly so that all can see the dangers of sin and the risk they bring upon themselves when they allow sin into their lives. There is a curious command of God regarding the cleansing of the Aaron and his sons. "Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the doorway of the tent of meeting and wash them with water." (Exodus 40:12) Aaron and his sons were to be washed in the presence of all. When elders sin, their washing and cleansing must too be public, not only for their benefit but for the benefit of all.

Our standards and convictions must be uniform, not excusing some while condemning others. Paul knew this and warned Timothy about showing partiality. Sin was sin and had to be dealt with as such, even if it was an elder who sinned. The words Paul uses here can imply both prejudice and preference. In our relationships with others we must not yield to prejudice or preference but rather see each one as individually equal before God. People may have differing levels of authority and different functions within the church, but they are all God's children and aught rightly to be treated fairly as such.

Finally, Paul gives Timothy, what I believe are, three separate commands, the word "thereby" not appearing in the Greek. First, he cautions Timothy from laying hands on people before he has a chance to gauge their heart. I was a member of a church pant where we did this very thing to our own harm. Gifted people were quickly identified and placed into positions of ministry. However, later on, it was these very same people who turned on the lead pastor and split the church. Giftedness is fine, but character is better. Better to get to know someone before you promote them to ministry and place them "in front." Secondly, Paul warns Timothy not to share in other's sin. Sometimes there is a tension among leaders, wanting to remain pure and wanting to be accepted. However, Paul reminds us, "Bad company corrupts good morals." (1 Corinthians 15:33) The company we keep is important, not only for us but also for the people we lead. Finally, Paul simply says to "keep yourself pure." Elders can becomes so focused on task that they can forget to take time to attend to their own souls. The quality of our souls are more important than the quantity of our work. King Solomon reminds us, "Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life." (Proverbs 4:23) How can we help others if we fail to care for and guard our own hearts?

David Robison

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Worthy of double honor - 1st Timothy 5:17-18

"The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing," and "The laborer is worthy of his wages." (1 Timothy 5:17-18)
One of Timothy's primary goals, and part of the reason he was left behind in Ephesus, was the appointing of elders over the church that was there. Paul reminds Timothy, and through him the church, that those who "rule well" as elders are worthy of "double honor." The word Paul uses for "rule" does not necessarily imply a governmental position but can also mean to preside over or to lead. It simply means to "stand in front." Often times we reinterpret what the Holy Spirit mean into our own culture and experiential history. For some, used to a business environment, "rule well" might be interpreted as "manage well". For those who are used to authoritarian leaders, "rule well" might me takes as "govern and control well." However, for those from a more tribal and familial background, they would understand this to mean to "preside over with wisdom" and to "lead others by example". I believe this is more of what the Holy Spirit meant than to govern or to manage.

Also, the "well" in "rule well" has more to do with the quality than quantity. It is not how much a person has done that makes them worthy of honor, but rather by what character and morality they do what they have done. One 'rules well", not when he has done lots of stuff, but when he does it out of a soul that has been conformed to Christ; he does well when he does it from a godly and moral character that has been produced by the grace of God from within him. Better to do less yet do it from a pure heart than to do great things from a heart that is still full of conceit and selfish ambition.

Paul also highlights those who "work hard" at preaching and teaching. The Greek text speaks of those who "labor over the word" with the implication of continuous effort, even fighting fatigue in the pursuit of their task. Then, as now, there is a great need for teaches in the church; for those who not only teach from their experiences and ideas, but for those who will teach the Word of God; explaining and expounding on the message of Christ; what it means and what it means to us. Those who tirelessly labor to understand and teach God's Word to us are worthy of our honor and love. There are many things we can do without, but Jesus said of His word, "the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life." (John 6:63) Worthy are those who labor to bring forth the "spirit and life" that is from Christ.

The "double honor" Paul refers to may include financial reward for their service, but can also refer to honor in other forms. However, while financial gain is not precluded, I have never found any direct evidence from the scriptures of early writings of the church that elders were ever paid, or in "full time ministry," as is often the custom today. Paul referred to this scripture of the Ox in his first letter to the Corinthian church saying that God made this command for our sake, "because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops." (1 Corinthians 9:10) However, here the crop is not wheat or some other grain, put people. Those who serve as elders do so in hopes of sharing in the crop, a crop of people who love the Lord and love each other. They serve in hope of sharing in that brotherly love, kindness, and care that extends between those who first love the Lord. At times, this care may include helping those in financial need and, in such cases, those who have served us well are worthy of "double honor," double love and care, from us. Just as we would be mindful of the needs of those around us, so should we be doubly mindful of the needs of those who labor to serve us in the Lord.

David Robison

Friday, May 16, 2014

Let widows marry - 1st Timothy 5:9-16

"A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man, having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work. But refuse to put younger widows on the list, for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married, thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge. At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention. Therefore, I want younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach; for some have already turned aside to follow Satan. If any woman who is a believer has dependent widows, she must assist them and the church must not be burdened, so that it may assist those who are widows indeed." (1 Timothy 5:9-16)
There were those widows who, because of their piety, their advanced years, and the lack of any family to care for them, were taken in and provided for by the church. It is unclear if other churches had a similar "list" or of this was particular to the church at Ephesus. Only those widows over the age of sixty were to be considered for such support, which most likely made this list rather small in number. However, Paul goes on to warn of the dangers of placing younger widows "on the list." His concern, at first, seems nonsensical since other widows in the church were marrying and not falling away from the faith. Why, then, the worry that widows "on the list" will want to marry "in disregard to Christ" and subsequently fall away and "incur condemnation?" What difference does being "on the list" make?

I believe the concern is broader than just widows but would extend to any young unmarried person being supported by the church; either out of benevolence or ministry. For, while at heart, the care of widows was certainly benevolence, in return they provided prayers and thanksgiving as ministry to the church. Paul writes of the widows who, "fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day." (1 Timothy 5:5) The benevolence of one being returned as service by the other. The problem arises, for young unmarreds, when their devotion to God and the church begins to come into conflict with their desire to marry. On one hand is their devotion to God and the church, from which they derive their support, and on the other is their desire to marry and raise a family. Often, such a conflict of desires, can put their very faith at risk for one cannot be entirely devoted to God and at the same time be devoted to a wife or husband. Often, when faced with such a choice, their desire to be married can not only separate them from their professed devotion to God and the church, but can even place their faith in jeopardy.

Paul's advice is not to place anyone in such a position but to let the young widow, and all other young unmarried people, marry, raise a family, earn a living, and become productive and godly members of society and of the community of faith. In time, their character will show forth and, if need be, when they are alone with no one else to support them, the church can step in and support them and honor them for a life well lived. It is my opinion that, today, in many churches, we elevate young single men and women to places of paid ministry when they haven't yet learned how to make a living, live in marriage, or raise a family. In doing so we often, unwittingly, place them in a tenable position and require them to make difficult decisions later when these desires for a career and family surface. Far better it would be to wait until they have matured before placing them into paid ministry and making them dependent upon the support of the church.

David Robison

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Widows and welfare - 1st Timothy 5:3-8

"Honor widows who are widows indeed; but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God. Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day. But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives. Prescribe these things as well, so that they may be above reproach. But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." (1 Timothy 5:3-8)
We have very little told to us about exactly how the early church cared for and supported widows in their day. We do know that the care for widows was part of the life of the church and that of the early believers. James instructs us that, "Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." (James 1:27) Pure religion compels us to care for those who are distressed and alone; to be help to the helpless and to comfort those who have no one else to comfort them. We also know that the early church had a special place in their heart for widows. Luke recounts the story for us when Peter raised Dorcas from the dead. "So Peter arose and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the upper room; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing all the tunics and garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them... And he gave her his hand and raised her up; and calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive." (Acts 9:39, 41) Notice that he called the saints and widows. They obviously had a special place in the heart of the believers and in the care of the church. Also, in the Jewish tradition, there were widows who dedicated themselves to the service of God and were provided for out of the temple. "And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers." (Luke 2:36-37) Similarly, it was the tradition of the early church to send left-overs to the widows after the "agape" or "Love Feast." It was this practice from which arouse the complaint, "Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food." (Acts 6:1)

So what is Paul saying? Two things are important to understand here. First is that the church does not replace the family. The church and the family coexist and each has their own set of responsibilities as it comes to the care of those in need. When one is in need, it is their family that must first step up to provide and care for the one in need. Today, it is often convenient to push off our needy family members to welfare, nursing homes, of even the church. leaving it up to them to care for our family members rather than ourselves. But this is not what our faith teaches us. Piety begins at home with our own relations and then extends to the church and to others.

Secondly, the church is not a welfare organization. The church does not exist to take care of hurting people; that is the responsibility of individuals and families. In dire circumstances, where there is no one else to help, and the one in need has proven their faith and Godly character to all, then the church can step in to provide what is lacking, but this is the exception and not the rule. Some may see the church as an extension of themselves, and that is understandable, and they see giving to the church as giving to those in need, as the church distributes their offerings to the needy. However, we can never abnegate our personal responsibilities to the church nor look to the church as our provider instead of seeing to it ourselves. Let the church care for those who are truly destitute and alone, and let us care for those with who we have relationships; family first, then others.

David Robison

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The church as family - 1st Timothy 5:1-2

"Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity." (1 Timothy 5:1-2)
Of first interest here is that the Greek word used here for "older man" is the same word that is translated other places as "elder" or "presbyter". It should remind us that church elders do not form a distinct "office" in the church but rather a group of older men who oversee and preside over the church. As an elder, and I have been one from time-to-time, we must not see ourselves as fulfilling an official or formal position in the church, but rather as those appointed by God, and accepted by our brethren, to provide guidance, counsel, and wisdom as their elders in this life. Once we feel we have to protect an office, or defend our ecclesiastical authority, we are in danger of thinking more highly of ourselves then we aught. Finally, we must remind ourselves that, in traditional elder-ruled tribal and national systems, elders did not force people to follow them, people willingly followed because they recognized their wisdom, knowledge, and character that their advanced years had afforded them. If you are an elder, live in such a way as to make people want to follow you. If no one is following you, then maybe your not an elder?

Secondly, while Timothy was an extension of Paul's apostolic ministry, he was living among the Ephesians as their son and brother. He did not allow his ministry, and the authority that was his through his ministry, to elevate himself, in his own eyes, above others as if he was special or of a different class then they were. All ministry in a church operates in the context of family. Just because you are a prophet, teacher, or some other minister, does not mean you can treat people with disregard. Even in churches that are "pastor lead" the pastor must minister from a context of family relationships with the people in his church. He must first be father and brother before he is pastor. Also, there is no sense of grandfather or grandchildren here either. If we are Christ's then we are all brothers and sisters; there are no grandfathers and grandchildren in the faith. How different our churches would be if we were first family and then what ever else God might call us to be or to do.

Finally, there is the substance of what Paul wrote to Timothy. We must always seek to honor our elders and not dishonor them through open rebuke but rather entreat them and seek to draw them forward in the things of God, always remembering that they are our elders and worthy of special honor. We are to treat men and women differently as God has created them different. The way you treat your father and brother is not the same as the way you treat (or should treat) your mother and sisters. Finally, when it comes to relationships in the church with those of the opposite sex, we must treat each other with "all purity." If you are dating or pursuing someone of the opposite sex, you should ask yourself, "am I treating them like my sister?" By asking this question, and responding accordingly, you will greatly reduce the hazard of falling into sexual sin. Honor demands purity and we should always seek to honor.

David Robison

Monday, May 05, 2014

Do no neglect - 1st Timothy 4:14-16

"Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you." (1 Timothy 4:14-16)
Paul has already taught us that "to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good" (1 Corinthians 12:7) and Peter reminds us "as each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." (1 Peter 4:10) Each one of us has received some special gift from God and it is not only our privilege to work with God but it is also our responsibility to use that gift for the benefit of others. These gifts from God are given freely by His grace and are distributed according to His own will and purpose. However, for many, their gifts have been neglected and left unused within the Body of Christ.

There are many reasons why people have failed to discover, develop, and deploy their gifts in the service of others. Some are the result of bad teaching, others by the lack of opportunity, and others simply due to the busyness of life. What ever the reason, the Body needs our gifts and we need to serve. Speaking of Jesus, Paul says, "from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love." (Ephesians 4:16) The key to the Body being held together and growing up is what each joint supplies. If we fail to supply what God has given us then we harm the Body and retard its growth. Love calls us to use what we have and to serve the Body that it might grow up unto God in love.

Paul speaks of the bestowal of gifts through prophesy and the laying on of hands by the eldership (or presbytery). Unfortunately, we do not have this event with Timothy and the presbytery recorded for us for that would have been very instructive. However, we do have Paul's sending out by the presbytery recorded for us. "Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers... While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.' Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away." (Acts 13:1-3) Part of the role of the presbytery is to identify, confirm, and release ministry within and without the church. Unfortunately, many of the elderships I have been a part of have primarily been focused on tasks: organizing church programs, setting budgets, handling crisis between members, etc. While some of these administrative and ministry oriented tasks are necessary, they are not the whole of the calling of an elder. Elders through out history, and not just church history, were not always a formal collection of leaders but were rather men who were well respected because of their age and the wisdom and understanding they evidenced through the life they lived. It is important for the "older generation" to invest themselves in the "younger generation" to see them mature and be released into what God has called them too; praying and fasting and then committing them to the will of the Holy Spirit.

Paul reminds Timothy to "be absorbed" in these things; his giftings, callings, and the prophetic utterances over his life. This particular word means to "toss them around in your mind." With the busyness of life it is easy to push these things to a dark corner of our mind where we will get to them "when we have a chance." But our calling and our purpose in life should always be front and center in our mind; being the ruling factor in all we do and in every decision we make. Also, often the call of God requires action on our side. Those things spoken to us from God do not always happen without our participation. We must take action and be involved in what God has called us to. This may involve preparation, for example, for some that may mean college or other forms of training. For some, their calling may require partnerships and relationships with others that they may work to gather to achieve their individual callings. And often the calling of God will require industry, discipline, and diligence, like dedicating time each morning to read and write. All these are ways we cooperate with the Holy Spirit and the grace of God to see the things spoken of God advanced in and through our lives.

Finally, in the process, we must never loose sight of our own walk and salvation with God. What is the use to have ministered to men only to find ourselves shipwrecked in the end? Paul put it this way, "but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified." (1 Corinthians 9:27) This attention to ourselves is not selfishness but is for our own preservation and for that of those we minister too. Too much wine has been spilled by those who, in dramatic form have ministered the power of God, only to have fallen far from the life they once preached. It is better to be modest in our ministry and godly in our life than to be godly in ministry and rejected in life. Take time for yourselves. Take time for those things that are more important than ministry. Learn to love the things that have first place before you love the things that have second and third place. In the end, your private life will minister more than your public life ever will. Preserve your self that you might also preserve others.

David Robiosn

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Live the message - 1st Timothy 4:11-13

"Prescribe and teach these things. Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching." (1 Timothy 4:11-16)
Timothy was left behind in Ephesus to both command and teach the things pertaining to the faith. His teachings were both authoritative and apostolic in that they were the teachings of the apostle Paul. These teachings defined what it meant to be a Christian and what it meant to be part of the church. Those who adhered to the teaching were part of the church while those who rejected the apostolic teaching remained outside. Timothy was an apostolic man, not because he was in succession from the apostle, but because he preached and taught the teachings of the apostle. To be apostolic is to hold to the teachings and traditions of the apostles, not to simply be in some form of "succession" of their appointment.

Today, there is much that is taught, shared, and preached in church, but little of which I would consider to be apostolic. That does not mean that what is shared is not good, beneficial, and useful, but simply that it does not reach to the authority of being apostolic. I personally long for God to restore such apostolic authority and teaching to the churches today. We need this ministry as much today as Ephesus needed it then.

In Timothy's day, young men were easily dismissed as not having the wisdom and understanding to teach. Job once said, "Wisdom is with aged men, with long life is understanding." (Job 12:12) Paul warns Timothy not to let people dismiss him for being young but to continue to teach in the authority he carried as an extension of Paul's ministry in the church. Paul's counsel to Timothy was to "prove them wrong" by demonstrating his wisdom and understanding thought his conduct of life. Timothy's credentials were to be the quality of life he lived among them, showing the reality of the cross of Christ within him. Some people try to demand obedience or to "show" authority in the way they speak and present themselves. However, true authority is seen when one can match the message of a man with the life of a man; when there is harmony between what he says and what he does. This shows true authority, an authority of a message that has been fully lived out in the life of the speaker.

Timothy's ministry was threefold: public reading of the scriptures - in this case the Old Testament scriptures, exhortation - encouraging, comforting, and entreating people to hold fast the message, and teaching - instruction and explanation of the apostolic message. These three forms of ministry of the Word each attains to a different need in the hearer. Each of these ministries are need in each of our lives and we should evaluate to see if one or the other is being neglected in our gathering together. We should also realize that God does not desire just one form of ministry but many. Many churches have become one dimensional; ministering to just one aspect of a person's life. Some focus on salvation, some on evangelism, some on teaching. However, when focusing on only one aspect of the gospel we tend to produce people who are healthy in one aspect but weak in another. We wish the whole body to be ministered to, to be nourished and built up, that the whole man might be made well. To do this we need a multitude of ministries operating on a multitude of forms. 

David Robison

Friday, May 02, 2014

Avoid distractions - 1st Timothy 4:6-10

"In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers." (1 Timothy 4:6-10)
Paul had left Timothy behind to remind the people of what they needed to do and how they should conform their behavior to the image and nature of Christ. Sometimes, after we have come to Christ, we begin to feel good about ourselves and we forget to continue in discipline and faith. It is like a sick person who goes to the doctor and is prescribed some drugs to heal them of their sickness. After a few days, when they feel better, they stop taking their medicine only to relapse once again in to their former sickness. The same is true of us. We can get to the point where we enjoy the moment and forget the "work" of the Kingdom that Christ has called us to. The word used here for "pointing out" can also be translated "to hazard," in other words, to warn the believers in Ephesus of the dangers of this life should they ever find themselves drifting away from the faith.

This call to remember, to realize the hazards of this life, reminds me of when everyone was marveling and celebrating the miracles that Jesus was doing. While everyone was cheering, Jesus turned to His disciples and said, "Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men." (Luke 9:44) Jesus was warning them not to let their celebration of life distract them from the truth of the path they were on. It was good for them to celebrate what Jesus was doing, but they must also remember the realities of where they were headed. Difficult times were coming and they had to prepare themselves lest they fall away through scandal and disappointment of the coming days.

Paul also reminds Timothy why we "discipline my [our] body and make it my [our] slave." (1 Corinthians 9:27) This is because of the hope we have for the life to come. If our concern is only for this life the we most certainly should, "eat and drink, for tomorrow we may die." (Isaiah 22:13) But if we are living for a life yet to come then we have reason to discipline our lives and to live in such a way as to win the race and the life yet to come. The prize is certainly worth the price. However, how does one "Run in such a way that you may win"? (1 Corinthians 9:24)

First, Paul tells us that we should be continually nourished by the words and teachings of the faith. It is not enough just to be saved, but we must grow in our salvation; to become strong in the faith and able to stand the trials and temptations that come our way. Jesus said of His own words, "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4) And, "the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life." (John 6:63) We cannot afford to neglect the Word of God for it is our strength and our life.

Secondly, Paul says that we must not pay attention to "worldly fables." Some people are so easily distracted with "the latest thing." Some new philosophy  comes by and they run to to see what it is. They are always searching but never finding. Jesus warned us of the coming Antichrists saying, "So if they say to you, 'Behold, He is in the wilderness,' do not go out, or, 'Behold, He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe them. For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be." (Matthew 24:26-27) We must be careful not to be distracted by those things that are of little importance and to rather devote our lives to the things that are eternal.

Finally, Paul instructs us to discipline ourselves for godliness. If we run after the world, to be like the world and to enjoy the world, we will get the world's outcome. However, if we run after Christ and His Kingdom, to discipline ourselves for it, then we will reap the rewards of the Kingdom and our inheritance will be in Him. There are many ways we can discipline our lives: physically, financially, emotionally, mentally, etc. All these things are important, but it is our discipline for godliness that reaps eternal rewards. To do the others and leave this undone is to come short of all Jesus has for us in His kingdom. Godliness, above all, should be our aim and the goal of our lives. Jesus promised, "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33) If we seek lesser things then lesser things we shall receive, but if we seek the Kingdom, then all things shall become ours.

David Robison